First lesbian couple to get fiance visa in PH tie knot in US

By Troy Espera, ABS-CBN North America Bureau

Jan. 2, 2013

SANTA CLARA, Calif. – She waited over 10 years and traveled almost 10,000 miles for this moment.

Tonight, at Santa Clara’s Freedom Hall, Maria Cecilia Limson Gahuman, or Chela—the first lesbian to receive a same-sex fiancé visa from the US Embassy in Manila—exercised her new freedom to marry the woman she loves.

Same-sex marriage isn’t legal in the Philippines but it is in some parts of the US, thanks to the Supreme Court ruling last June.

So despite living in the Philippines, it meant Gahuman could be petitioned as a fiancé by her US citizen partner Carla Antonio, who serves in the US Navy.

For more than a decade they endured a long distance relationship, and it wasn’t easy.

“I was ready to just go back to the Philippines to be with her,” Antonio said.

“She wanted to quit the US Navy, but I always keep on reminding her just to keep on praying,” Gahuman said.

But once they learned they could be legally wed in America, they immediately filed the fiancé petition.

“I called her right away and told her lets gather all the paperwork,” Antonio said.

“I was shocked,” Gahuman said.

The visa was approved within three-and-a-half months. Gahuman got her visa in early December and flew to the US to walk down the aisle with Antonio on Dec 30.

The news about Antonio and Gahuman being the first lesbian couple to be granted fiancé visas in the Philippines made headlines.

Filipino Noel “Aeinghel” Amaro and US service member Robert Cotterman were the first gay couple to receive a fiancé visa.

In a statement, the US Embassy in Manila says it wants gay Filipinos with American partners to be aware of new visa opportunities that are available now that the US recognizes same-sex marriage.

“If there is someone that you love and you have a real relationship, our advice is do not wait,” Atty. Aurora Vega-Buzon, Gahuman’s immigration lawyer, said. “Gather your documents, talk to an attorney, and lets get that loved one here as soon as we can.”

After more than a decade of living and loving apart, Gahuman and Antonio now start their new life and the new year together as newly weds.

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3 Comments on this post.

Leave a Reply



    3 January 2014 at 8:13 am - Reply

    Why is it so important to talk about this gays ? When they don’t believe in God. Please stop talking about them. They are people that don’t believe in them, why don’t you talk about people that is normal ? When people from my state see gays we stay away from them, It’s not nice when they kiss each other, we only laugh at them ! What a joke.

  • Immigration Lawyer in Houston Texas
    13 January 2014 at 5:57 am - Reply

    Yes, It’s absolutely right. If they believe in God then they don’t think about it infect don’t talk about it. I fully agree with you. I don’t like this. I hate them.

  • Bigot
    9 February 2014 at 5:43 pm - Reply

    @HELLO: God does not discriminate. Talk about a hypocrite